I remember the day when I told my mom that I had been invited to model in Cape Town. She asked me where in the world Cape Town was. I said South Africa. I could see fear in her eyes and I knew she would be worried that I’ll move to a country so far from home. Mothers, however old their children are, will always see them as their babies whom they have to nurture and protect.
|my wonderful and uber-cool mom|
Despite the fact that I had moved to Manila to study in the university at 16, and at the time of our conversation I was already in my 20s fending for myself, it was very hard for my mom to say yes to Cape Town. Besides, she didn’t consider modeling as a real job.
I, on the other hand, was thrilled by the idea that I will be living in a continent that very few Filipinos have reached and a city where, at that time, only few Filipinos have heard of (pre-World Cup days). I took out my map and chills ran up my spine by looking at the distance between the Philippines and Cape Town. It was quite a distance. And I wanted to go as far as possible, learn new cultures and meet new people. I had finished my stint as Miss Philippines and I was ready to embark on a different and exciting journey, without much planning needed (I am not a planner, this may be a good or a bad thing).
So modeling fell into my lap. And traveling was my passion. It was a great combination then. Convincing my mom wasn’t too hard. It was moving to a country where I didn’t know anyone and if I would do well in my newly-chosen career posed as the real challenges. But at that point in my life, I was prepared to take risks. I was scared to leave home but I was even more scared that I would be stuck at home and I would always wonder what the world has to offer.
Someone I know said you are where you are because you are meant to be. I was in Cape Town because I was meant to be. It turned out to be one of the best, if not the best, experiences of my life. What made it more meaningful were the people I connected with, the relationships I built, the lessons I learned from the stories they shared. It became my home. On my first trip to Cape Town, I was lucky that the coolest and most awesome people gravitated towards me and to this day they remain very close to my heart. Travel is not only about the places you see but also about the people you meet and the relationships harnessed along the way. Here are some of the people (and animal) who touched my life when I lived in Cape Town:
|Awesome foursome: moi, Mikaela, Natalia, Loredana. We were inseparable.|
|Natalia, my fellow free-spirit and fearless travel partner.|
|Asian Persuasion: Sherry, Sam and Me. Made me feel close to home.|
|Adorable Barak. He was the life of the party!|